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Published: June 17th 2008
Three days of sunshine, life is good. Heading out of Tok on the Alaska Highway proved very challenging. The road was in deplorable condition with dozens of gravel sections in the first 90 miles in the US. The Canadian side was worse between Beaver Creek and Haines Junction. There were red flags every few hundred feet and you needed to slow way down for all the dips and bumps in the road. We passed a motor home which had been towing a Jeep Wagon. I say “had” because they were now separated, with the front end of the jeep gone and the tireless front axle, which had been pushed up into the driver’s compartment, was now buried in the gravel on the side of the road.
Dave has been talking with numerous campers who have had to replace shackles and springs from driving up this section of road. Also the road from Tok to Glennallen leaves a lot to be desired. Half the road has frost heaves with lots of dips and bumps. On the gravel section you have to worry about your windshield and radiator from rocks flying up from oncoming traffic and on the blacktop section you need
to go slow, especially if you are towing because the dips and bumps will tear the hell out of the suspension of your tow vehicle. We also passed an accident where two trucks side-swiped each other and ripped the complete side off of one.
The scenery is the usual breathtakingly beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes. It is so pretty along the road sides, now that the wildflowers are in full bloom. In the morning we looked to the Nutzotin Mountains on our right and the Dawson Range to our left. We had no wait at Canadian Customs and no problems getting through. Our first wildlife of the day was a family of trumpeter swans and our second was a porcupine that wandered across the road. Our third was a handsome, big black bear walking down the side of the highway. We were in and out of showers all day and at the time we saw the bear, the temperature dropped to 46 degrees and it was hailing. You can see white on the bear’s back.
The Kluane Lake was especially pretty. The color of the water was green and it contrasted so nicely with the dark Dawson Range
behind it and the dark skies from the distant storms. We stopped in Burwash Landing, which touts the world’s largest Gold Pan. We were going to check out the little museum there, but changed our minds when the snippy lady at the front desk, when asked where the ladies room was, answered, “It’s only for our paying customers.”
Fog was coming off the far side of the lake as we crossed over the Kluane River. We enjoyed our views of the St. Elias Mountains on our right as we came down off the mountains into Haines Junction. We are camping at the Fas Gas for $16.50 per night with hook-ups. I forgot we were back in Canada and I asked the attendant if she would take a Traveler’s Check. When she saw it was American $100 check, she said “I need to take 10% of this.” I found some funny money (Canadian) in my wallet and paid her that way. I think there are a lot of Canadian businesses that are just out there to rip Americans off.
There were a couple of squatters on the two sites next to us that were evicted after we arrived. The
attendant gave us site 4, which was taken, and when I told her there was someone on that site, she said “Not again!”
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